Who Defines You

If not who, then what?

It’s like soda… Growing up was defined often by those things we like and don’t like … No watermelon in my world and essentially no off-brand attempt of soda.  When younger, we called everything “Coke” – like, “Dad, I want an orange Coke.” I never remember using words like soda or pop… No. Everything was a Coke.  (Even my wife agrees to this memory!)

Still, there were things we recognized as different and called by their generic names. Cars. Candy bars. Cereal.

We place limits on ourselves by the words and phrases we use. Even our culture limits us in some arenas. I met a New Yorker last week who worked hard at minimizing speech patterns that puts him at a disadvantage in some arenas! He just wanted to be known by who he presented himself to be, and not by some accent that might put him in a neighborhood around the state.

We are even limited by the distance our imagination takes us, even by imposed boundaries whether they come by authority or other limiting parameters.

I take this even deeper in analysis when I consider how I act around certain kinds of people. You know, polished, professional, or intimidating personalities. I asked an intelligent friend if he ever gets tired of how others treat him.  Answer=Yes. He would like to just enjoy knowing others! Imagine, Superman… What kind of friends could he have?

Our limitations do affect those around us!

Peter and John were hauled before the highly trained religious court after a lame man was healed and they had preached to the crowds. They were not favorably viewed by the religious leaders!

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Their boldness was parametized by the perception of unlearned and ignorant. But these were two of the closest followers of Jesus. His inner circle. Loved and favored. Commissioned for great things.  Think about it:

  • Do you ever feel like someone is talking about you? How does that make you feel? Devalued? Belittled?
  • When needing to survive from a disaster, do you want a brainiac or a McGyver?
  • Are you categorizing yourself, or others, by imposed parameters that corral a person based on some internal limitation?

Is someone doing the same to you?

A long time ago I realized I need not give someone power over me. I live like that every day! I am often my own worse enemy when it comes to what and who defines me!